Nila Sweeney
Give yourself a money makeover today. Here are five simple ways that could set you on a course to save $236,187.
 
1. Switch your super fund
 
Most people begin their working life in a super fund chosen by their first employer. However, this may not be the best fund for you. There could be a fund that charges lower fees, or have had a higher 10-year return. 
 
To change funds, simply fill out a Standard Choice Form (SCF) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Your old super fund then has 30 days to transfer your funds into your new fund.
 
EXAMPLE: Say you are 35 years old, earn $60,000pa and have a super balance of $30,000. Your current super fund has a management fee of 1.8% per annum and an average investment return of 5%. By switching to a fund with a 0.7% management fee and an average investment return of 8% pa, you can accumulate more than $141,000 extra over the next 30 years of work. 
 
Savings possible: $141,086
 
2. Find a better rate for your savings
 
On the back of the RBA’s interest rate cuts in 2011-2012, the search for a top savings account may be trickier, but nonetheless important. There’s no excuse to leave your funds in a poor savings account – or worse, in a transaction account.
 
FACT: The best savings account that’s currently around is UBank’s USaver account with a maximum rate of 6.01%.
 
EXAMPLE: If you open a USaver account with $10,000, you’ll earn interest of $2,807 after five years. Contrast that with a MyState Online Savings account of 4.25%, where an opening deposit of $10,000 will give you interest of $2,146 after five years.
 
Savings possible: $661
 
3. Refinance your mortgage
 
It’s likely the home loan you took out five years ago is no longer the best deal on the market. Given the recent news of banks lifting their variable mortgage rates, refinancing should be a serious consideration. . Take a look at your current interest rate, fees and other costs and then check comparison websites like yourmortgage.com.au to see if better deals are available. Often online mortgage providers can offer much better rates than, say, the big four banks.
 
EXAMPLE: Switching a 30-year, $300,000 home loan from one that charges 7.63% interest to one that charges 6.39% will save you $89,949 over the life of the loan. You then need to subtract the approximately $7,000 estimated cost of exiting the current loan and setting up a new one.
 
Savings possible: $82,949
 
4. Start paying 0% on your Credit card debt balance
 
If you have an outstanding credit card debt and are about to face interest payments, consider transferring your debt to a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards allow you to pay off your debt during an interest-free period (usually about six months), before reverting to a nasty interest rate.
 
EXAMPLE: suppose you have $5,000 outstanding on a credit card that charges 18.99% interest. If you transfer that balance to a Westpac Low Rate Visa or MasterCard and pay $840 each month throughout the six-month interest-free period, you would have cleared your credit card debt. 
Alternatively if you stuck to your old card, you would face a bill of $435 at the end of the six month period.
 
Savings possible: $11,019
 
5. Cancel your non-essential cards
 
Credit cards that promise you free flights, shopping vouchers or fuel discounts require you to spend a hefty amount and pay your bill off in time. Oftentimes the “free” rewards are outweighed by the annual fee and interest for the card.
 
By cancelling such credit cards over the phone or in writing, you could be refunded part of your annual fee.
 
EXAMPLE: You spend $18,000 a year on credit and carry a balance of $3,000 in outstanding debt. The Bankwest Breeze Mastercard will save you $292 in interest and $181 in fees each year, compared to a card with a 20.74% interest rate and $250 annual fee. 
 
Savings possible: $472
 

With interest rates at their lowest for more than 50 years, there are some great rates available. The best thing to do is to compare rates from all the lenders. Let us help take the leg work out of doing this - Compare Home Loans now